Committed to advancing sustainable packaging

Chris Davidson, VP, Sustainability

WestRock advancing sustainable packaging WestRock advancing sustainable packaging

Sustainability has long been an important part of our company’s history – recycling and sustainable forest management are the fiber of our being. Our customers’ commitments to sustainability are driving more conversation about what is needed to ensure that product packaging is made from renewable resources, is recyclable and even compostable. Entering calendar year 2022, we took an important step in WestRock’s sustainability journey by setting more ambitious sustainability targets, including a 2025 target to make 100% of WestRock’s products recyclable, compostable or reusable, driving the transition to a more circular economy through cutting-edge innovation.

Helping our customers win means leading in sustainability – with packaging that enhances relationships between brands and their consumers and improves the environmental footprint of their packaging. More than half of the surveyed consumers say packaging that communicates the brand’s core values and purpose impacts product satisfaction1.

It is time to think of sustainability not only through the lens of environmental impacts, but also continuing the transition to a more circular economy. From responsible fiber sourcing to advanced machinery and our network of recycling facilities, our capabilities in support of the circular economy are a true differentiator for WestRock.

The challenge before us is to continue innovating to make packaging that is right-sized, made from renewable materials, and is recyclable or compostable. Plastics replacement is important, but we are thinking beyond replacing plastics and exploring ways to advance the strength and sustainability of fiber-based packaging.

  • We are developing new methods for sourcing virgin fiber in partnership with landowners and certifying organizations.
  • We are exploring technology that makes fiber-based packaging resistant to water and grease with enhanced thermal insulation, while preserving its recyclability.
  • We are working with customers to create packaging that is right-sized for use, with advancements in design and customized machinery that increase the overall efficiency of their operations through on-demand machinery solutions.

While sustainable packaging that is scalable and cost-effective is already core to our product offering, we must lean into the partnerships we have built and apply our discoveries to continue to solve our customers’ greatest challenges – in a way that also serves the environment.

  1. Source: WestRock Pulse Packaging Survey, 2020